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Virgin Orbit's maiden test launch fails to reach orbit

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 26, 2020
Virgin Orbit on Monday conducted its first orbital launch attempt, but its air-launched rocket failed to reach orbit.
Virgin Orbit
LauncherOne   Virgin Orbit
The LauncherOne rocket was launched over the Pacific Ocean just off the California coast. After being released from the carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl, the rocket successfully lighted its booster engine on cue the first time the company had attempted an in-air ignition.

Topics: Virgin Orbit

However, an anomaly then occurred early in the first stage flight, and the mission safely terminated, the company said in a release.

The carrier aircraft and all of its crew landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port in California, concluding the mission.

"Our team performed their prelaunch and flight operations with incredible skill today. Test flights are instrumented to yield data and we now have a treasure trove of that," said Dan Hart, chief executive officer of the company.

"We accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves, though not as many as we would have liked," Hart added.

Virgin Orbit's next rocket is in final stages of integration at its manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California, with a half-dozen other rockets for subsequent missions not far behind, said the release.